I am submitting a grant request. The package will include four copies of the grant request, an executive summary, and a cover letter. The cover letter is very short and says in part "I have included four copies of the grant request for convenience of dissemination."

A friend suggested I add the encl. abbreviation at the bottom of my cover letter, but my logic tells me it's redundant and superfluous and may be of incorrect form in this situation since I state in the cover letter that the package contains enclosed documents. If the cover letter did not contain any reference to enclosed materials, I would have no dilemma and would add the encl. at the bottom.

I would like to hear opinion about whether to add encl. at the bottom of my cover letter.

  • I’ve always thought of it as a TL;DR equivalent. Your letter might be opened by someone so accustomed to not understanding much of the cover letter, that they just observe the shapes of the paragraph and pass on the contents. Better redundancy than absence in that case. Also, technically opinion-based answers are bad here, so I suggest you edit it to finish with a precise question. – Pam Sep 1 '18 at 19:44
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    A good question, in my view. Personally, I add at the bottom of emails 'Attached : File' or some such, even if I have explained already in the body of the letter that I am attaching something. It is efficient, and - in my view - not 'redundant'. I think you should do as your friend suggests. It gives the impression ( I would suggest) of carefulness and attention to detail. – Nigel J Sep 1 '18 at 19:48
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    Such notation was traditional in traditional office mail to signal the secretary that an enclosure should be enclosed. – Hot Licks Sep 1 '18 at 21:25
  • It will never hurt to specify enclosures, after everything else. In a grant request would it be better to guess what style the committee might like, to ask for their style guidance or do some research among previous successful - and failed - applicants? A committee with a more formal mind-set might prefer to hear about “covering”, not “cover” letters… Of course that seems trivial and how many requests d’you think they get? If you’re on a committee looking at hundreds of requests will you read all of them through, or use anything you don’t like as reason enough to throw it out? – Robbie Goodwin Sep 1 '18 at 21:28

It may be redundant, but the book Technical Communication always puts "Enclosure" at the bottom of the letter in its examples, even when it's already mentioned elsewhere in the body of the letter. The reasoning, I would assume, is that people don't want to have to read your letter (even if it's short) to see what else should be in the envelope.

For example, here's some of the comments it has on a cover letter where the author is attaching a résumé (Figure 15.7 on page 412):

A concluding paragraph usually includes a reference to the résumé, a polite but confident request for an interview, and the writer’s contact information.

The enclosure notation refers to the writer’s résumé. Do not use an enclosure notation unless you are literally enclosing something along with the letter in the envelope.

  • Many thanks to everyone for the comments and reply. I will heed the advice and include it in the cover letter. I will also endeavor to read Stackexchange's English Language and Usage in the future. Looks like an interesting place. – rwb Sep 2 '18 at 1:39

I used to distribute office mail while answering phones. It's not practical to read letters and in some offices correspondence is confidential. It is very important to put "enclosed" when sending items smaller than the letter as they can easily be left in the trashed envelope.

"Enclosed" is used when an item is separate from the letter and "Attached" when stapled/clipped to it.

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